Bank Governor Mills Jones & President Sirleaf
In its 2012 and 2014 Annual Reports, the Central Bank of Liberia reported Subscription and Public Relation as an expense item on its income/expense statements.
In 2014 for example, the total gross revenue of LD 1,006,624,000.00 included LD 599,323,000 received from the Liberian government. In essence, the shareholder’s cash payments -interest expense of LD 234,037,000 on loan/advances and loss/discount of LD 365,286,000 representing “unwinding of Discount…” made up 59.52% of the gross revenue of the Central Bank.
If 59.52% of its gross revenue is received from the Government of Liberia, why should the Bank spend US $5,527,271 (LD 386,909,000/US $70) on Public Relation to generate US $14,384,414 (LD 1,006,624,000/ US $70)? Is this prudent management? I disagree. Such an expense, which has limited on the revenue of the Bank, is at the heart of the debate.
Now, some members of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Liberia, rightly so, have called for an audit of the Central Bank. An article called carried by FrontPage Africa Web Site reported that lawmakers “…wanted to know the whereabouts of the money being spent by the bank to run campaign in favor of CLB Governor Mills Jones.” The article also reported that CLB outgoing Governor, John Bestman reacted to the call for an audit. He stated that “…the internal audit they calling for will disclose their own skeletons quite sufficient.”
This is not the first time critics have questioned the activities of the chief executives at the Central Bank. In 2002, critics stated that excessive Board of Director fees, for example, $56,000 paid to Cllr Sie-A-Nyene Youh, was wrong. The second complaint was made against the decision to appropriate loans for small-sized businesses. A third issue was the violation of the 1999 Law to lend loan/advances to the government on a long-term basis. Act creating the Central Bank of Liberia.
The reaction by the outgoing chairman of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank is troubling. This statement in itself is a good reason why an investigator should review many of the activities of the Central Bank. For example, does the Bank meet the requirement of the International Monetary Fund for Liberia to keep a percentage of gross national product or estimated revenue as excess cash reserves? This is because Does the government of Liberia owe the Bank LD 24 billion at the end of 2014? Most importantly, is the Bank upholding the 1999 Act creating the Central Bank of Liberia?